Air New Zealand cancellations 'major disruption' beyond flights - travel expert

The AM Show 19/11/2019

A travel expert says the cancellation of Air New Zealand flights over the holiday period will have chaotic repercussions on customers' planned time overseas.

On Monday, the national carrier announced it had been forced to cancel flights between December 10 and January 2, due to required maintenance on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner engines. An estimated 14,000 customers will be affected by schedule changes to flights.

As the engine issue is not confined to New Zealand and airlines around the globe have been impacted, there is a long wait for replacement engines and repairs. Air NZ has 10 of the affected Trent 1000 TEN engines fitted to its 787-9 fleet.

Brent Thomas from House of Travel says there's not a lot Air New Zealand can do about it.

"Unfortunately, it is a little bit out of Air New Zealand's control. The Rolls Royce engines have been an ongoing saga," he told Newshub.

"The issue, of course, is that it is going to be over the Christmas holidays for a number of people and that is going to impact their ability to get to loved ones at a special time of the year.

"It is a major disruption [but] certainly not of Air New Zealand's making."

Thomas says the cancellations will have repercussions on travellers' plans beyond just how they get overseas. With the affected period only weeks away, many will be quickly trying to change bookings they have in place at their destinations. 

"There will be some people who have got hotels or car rentals booked, and we are going to have to work out how we best handle that for those customers who have been impacted by this."

The cancellations may also affect people coming to New Zealand.

"It is going to impact New Zealand tourism as there will be a number of people coming in on Air New Zealand flights, which now are going to have to be handled somewhere else."

He said some people will simply cancel their flights "[as] it will become too difficult to get to where they want to get to".

Thomas also said the large number of people affected will make it difficult for other airlines to help everyone out.

Which flights are affected:

  • The airline is suspending its twice-weekly seasonal Christchurch-Perth service, resulting in the cancellation of 62 flights 
  • From December 10 until January 5, the airline will also cancel its second daily Auckland-Perth service
  • NZ105 Auckland - Sydney - Cancelled December 29
  • NZ108 Sydney - Auckland - Cancelled December 29
  • NZ107 Auckland - Sydney - Cancelled December 12, January 2 
  • NZ109 Auckland - Sydney - Cancelled December 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 29 
  • NZ110 Sydney -  Auckland - Cancelled December 12, January 2
  • NZ112 - Sydney - Auckland - Cancelled December 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 29 
  • NZ270 - Auckland - Tonga - Cancelled December 30
  • NZ273 - Tonga - Auckland - Cancelled December 30

Air NZ says customers booked on cancelled flights will be contacted by the airline about alternative arrangements. Those who booked via a travel agency will be contacted by their agent.

The AM Show / Newshub reporters Jamie Ensor & Delphine Herbert